André Ruiter Stereoscopy

Smith, Beck & Beck Stereoscope

July 21, 2021
Smith, Beck & Beck Stereoscope - B&W photographer and collector of antique photographica
My second stereoscope that is manufactured by Smith, Beck & Beck from London. It's designed for viewing stereocards and glass stereoviews.

For a brief introduction about Smith, Beck & Beck, I refer to my post about the company's book stereoscope.

At first glance, this stereoscope looks like a multi viewer, but in fact it has more in common with a handheld stereoscope mounted on a base plate. The base plate folds into its storage box which serves as a stand. Stored in the box, the base plate of the viewer becomes the cover and two locks hold the assembly together. The stereoscope is suitable for 8,5 x 17 cm stereocards or glass transparancies. A mirror can be placed in two brass arms to illuminate the glass stereoviews. The viewer part can be tilted to enhance the viewing experience.

The two achromatic lenses can be focussed but the distance between the lenses is not adjustable. The left lens has the inscription R & J Beck, which indicates that it's manufactured in 1865 or later (Smith retired from the company that year). Between both lenses the serialnumber 2383 is engraved.

Large wooden storage cabinets were available to store collections of stereoviews. The stereoscope was introduced in 1860 and apparently a great success because it was still mentioned in a catalog from 1890.

Smith, Beck & Beck Stereoscope


  • Stereoscopes: the first one hundred years, Paul Wing, 1996